See photos of Chadwick Boseman in his final film, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

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Chadwick Boseman lives on in his final film as the swaggering 1920s trumpeter Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

The “Black Panther” star is front and center in new production stills Netflix released Wednesday. The movie is the streaming giant’s cinematic adaptation of dramatist August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

The play was the first in Wilson’s 10-play cycle exploring the 20th century Black experience to make it to Broadway. It also lines up with Boseman’s history of pursuing projects that tell stories of Black excellence. It begins streaming Dec. 18.


In one of the five images, Boseman is captured with the film’s director, George C. Wolfe, and costar Viola Davis, who plays the titular role in the film.

The Netflix film stars Davis as legendary blues singer Gertrude (Ma) Rainey, who was one of the first Black singers to be signed to a white label, and chronicles some of her battle for control over her music. Like the play, the drama departs from its historical premise to focus on the interaction of the band members.

Boseman plays Levee, the ambitious trumpeter who elicits stories from the other musicians during their tense recording session in Chicago as the band awaits the singer.

The movie is produced by Denzel Washington, a mentor of Boseman’s, and Todd Black. It was adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.


Previews for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” were delayed in August following news of Boseman’s death at 43 after privately waging a years-long battle with colon cancer.

“Ma Rainey” is Boseman’s last feature film. He had been set to star in and produce the samurai action movie “Yasuke,” set in 16th century Japan, for his own production company, Xception Content. He was also slated to reprise his Marvel role of the superhero king T’Challa in “Black Panther 2.”